In 2012, a Wicklow community set off on a search for a legendary pagan cross that vanished from their St. Patrick’s Church parish 60 earlier.
The Independent reported that there were disparaging rumors as to why the granite cross may have vanished. Some said that local residents believed the cross was attracting fairies. Others believed it was buried by then priest Fr Matthew Blake, mainly because of its graphic carvings which displayed women and their “exaggerated genitalia.”
The vanished cross was nearly forgotten about until it appeared in an old photo of the Church on the town’s Facebook page. Wondering what became of it, a team of local volunteers, led by their local war memorial committee, began a search for the legendary cross.
With permission from the clergy, a grounds survey was conducted around the church where the cross may have been buried. But a dig started later that year yielded little information.
Stan J O’Reilly, secretary of the town’s historical society, said of the missing cross, "I've asked a lot of people about it and the story is that the parish priest at the time, Fr Blake, saw something on it he did not like -- something like a nude figure, which was possibly a 'sheela na gig'.”
Believing that it is more than likely that the disappearance of the cross was Fr Blake’s doing, O’Reilly called Fr Blake a “very determined man.”
*Originally published in 2013.